As a Tepper student I feel like I am most qualified to speak about my school though I tried to cover material that any applicant/prospective student might like to know.
Carnegie Mellon University was officially created upon the merge of the Carnegie Institute with the Mellon College in 1967. This makes the university the youngest in the current ranking of the Top 25 Universities in the nation. The business school went under the name of the School of Industrial Management until 2004 when David. A. Tepper (a wealthy hedge fund alumni) donated the second largest sum to a business school in the history of academia. Since then the school has been known as the Tepper School of Business or the David. A. Tepper School of Business. The university in its short life span has already produced six nobel laureautes in Economics and has risen to be one of the top undergrad business schools in the nation. The Tepper Business School boasts the highest median base salary upon graduation (tied with Wharton + MIT at $55,000). The school has evolved from its more technical roots and now employs both technological and soft skills to its education.
Carnegie Mellon has always been the forefront of technological advances and its students enjoy such luxuries during their years at the university. One example is the smart ID card which holds CampusXpress credits, school information, personal I.D., meal plan information including DineX and meal blocks, status of enrollment, and more. Carnegie Mellon also created the first wireless network with an ID (nicknamed Andrew). Carnegie Mellon is also the first university to employ Esuds, a laundry service that emails and notifies the student upon dryer/washer completion and allows the student to check the availibility of dryers/washers online without ever leaving the dorm room.
Carnegie Mellon has been consistently ranked highly and noticed for its amazing job network and post-graduate success. Examples include being "Recruiter's Favorite School", the nation's 6th "Most Improved School", Princeton Review's "Best Jobs", and last year's Newsweek's sole title holder of "Hottest College for a Job".
The school has enjoyed a huge rise in application number and prestige over its short life span and for 2006 the university overall received a 20% increase in applications (from 15,000+ applications to 18,000+ applications for only over a thousand spots). The 20% increase is the second highest increase of applications in the Top 25 after John Hopkins' 23% increase. The Tepper Business School has enjoyed more than a 50% jump in applications for 2006 and consequently reduced its acceptance rate to a low 19.23%.
For 2004-2005, the median base salary not including bonuses was $55,000 (tied #1 with Wharton). The school sent most of its students to IBM (5 students), JP Morgan (5 students), Lehman Brothers (4 students), Merrill Lynch (4 students), CGI-AMS (3 students), and other top companies. It should also be noted that all five students that went to IBM were hired as consultants. These five consultants range from managerial consultants to financial consultants and are regarded as the top of their respective titles. With "mode" companies such as these, only the Wharton School of Business can rival Carnegie Mellon's incredulous job network (as quoted by Newsweek's Article that listed Carnegie Mellon as a "New Ivy".).
The post-grad survey for the 2005-2006 class was even more impressive. This is thanks to the school's connections with firms like Lehman Brothers, Merill Lynch, JP Morgan, Duestche Bank, and Goldman Sachs (as well as CMU's campus in New York City itself). That is why a look at the postgrad surveys for 2005-2006 shows these companies as the "mode" companies (the ones that recruit the most grads) for CMU. http://www.studentaffairs.cmu.edu/ca.../salary/ba.pdf
The median salary for 2005-2006 (base salary) remains at $55,000.
Location: CMU's campus is a secluded traditional green-college campus on top of a hill that is 5 minutes away from downtown Pittsburgh. At most times during the day and during party nights, downtown Pitt streets are crowded with cars and people on the sidewalks. This is because Pittsburgh is the nation's 2nd largest college city (after Boston of course). Upitt, Duquesne, CMU, Carlow, etc. all contribute to the city atmosphere if one walks downtown. Tall/huge buildings loom everywhere downtown as do countless bridges. There are electric streetcars and even homeless people. I believe CMU has the best of both worlds location-wise and while you got the college-town world captured, you are also just a few minues away from the city world.
Take a look at these pictures:
Social life: Most people here are social but also very intelligent. Only a minority of the student body stays in their dorms all day and play World of Warcraft (though many social people also dabble in such activities). There are parties to be found every weekend (multiple, in fact) and there are always parties down at Upitt and the other numerous bars/clubs in the city of Pittsburgh. The student body is very diverse and the male to female ratio (while favoring the former), is becoming more equal. Workload during freshman year and the first semester of sophomore year is actually quite easy. Many students join frats/clubs during their first semesters. Most students tend to brag and exaggerate about how hard their classes are which generates most of the reputation with respect to the academics. However, this reputation also contributes to CMU's strong post-grad success as top recruiters and companies flock to CMU's campus during job fairs. For most students, the workload only gets "hard" during the junior year (and with certain classes such as Physics II and Operating Systems). Of course this depends on the individual and on the school (Comp Sci has a reputation for getting it harder while HSS/Tepper have a reputation for an easy workload).
Improvements: The application increase and the increasing strength in CMU's already sterling job networking has created new opportunities. The city of Pittsburgh recently acquired a young capable new mayor who is focused on restoring Pittsburgh to its former glory. New busineses are investing in the city including Google (who started a regional headquarters and hired a CMU professor to head it). A new Gates building (mostly funded by the Gates foundation) is also under construction at CMU and the Tepper School of Business is seeing improvements in funding, giving, and infrastructure.